Neighboring countries becoming increasingly attractive

Source:China Daily
Updated:2018-08-14 09:43:10

  Cultural similarities, low tuition costs and close proximity mean several neighboring countries are becoming increasingly popular among young Chinese planning to study overseas.

  For example, they are attracted to Japan by the affordability of tuition and plentiful opportunities to obtain scholarships.

  While studying at a university in the United States may offer enticing career prospects, average total tuition for a four-year college course runs to about 1 million yuan ($145,000) for regular schools, while elite Ivy League universities are even more expensive.

  However, in Japan, average annual tuition at national universities is about 50,000 yuan.

  Last year, Peng Xuxin, from Wuhan, Hubei province, enrolled at Hiroshima University to study for a master's in dental health.

  "I came to Japan mainly because the tuition is much lower than at Western universities," the 24-year-old said. "I chose it because I am interested in Japanese drama, movies, fashion, food and pop idols."

  Learning Japanese has not proved too difficult, either.

  "I have an advantage over many foreign counterparts in learning Japanese since I can read and understand the meaning of most of the Kanji characters (many of which are based on Chinese characters)," he said.

  Ye Zizhen also chose a Japanese university when she decided to study overseas in 2015, and won a full scholarship to study international relations at Waseda University in Tokyo.

  "Waseda is known across the world. I received a high-quality education at the university," she said. "Japan's proximity to China was another huge plus as my parents were able to visit quite easily."

  For Fan Weihong, a recent graduate who now works for a finance company in Beijing, the decision to study at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore was an easy one.

  Singapore is a melting pot of East and West, so Chinese students can experience Western culture while feeling at home, he said, adding that studying in the city-state is easier than in Western countries because the courses are taught in both Mandarin and English.

  "I felt at home in Singapore since the language, society and cultural customs are so similar. Singapore feels like my 'other hometown', where lots of people speak Chinese as well as English," he said.

  According to a survey of 5,000 Chinese students conducted in May by Vision Overseas Consulting Co and Kantar Millward Brown, the number willing to study in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada had fallen from the previous academic year. However, 500 expressed an interest in studying in Singapore, while a similar number opted for Japan.

  Guo Xiaojuan, manager of the European and Asian Division at Vision Overseas, said the two countries have become more popular with Chinese students because of their increasingly high standards of education and booming tourism sectors.

  "The education systems in those countries are quite open and mature. Also, many of their schools are rated highly in the latest global university rankings," Guo said.

  "What is certain is that Chinese students' options for overseas study will continue to diversify. The rise of Singapore and Japan is just a start."